Fans are used to seeing Kentucky in the mix for top recruits in Ohio. Behind Vince Marrow, UK has been aggressively grabbing guys out of the Buckeye state since Stoops was hired.
Fans no doubt were a little surprised when a player considered the top player in Michigan (according to Rivals) committed to the Cats a few days ago. Don’t be shocked to see more pickups like offensive lineman Marquan McCall out of Oak Park, Mich., show up on UK’s campus in the future.
Without directly talking about the 6-foot-3, 280-pound prospect who is rated among the top 100 players in the country and the No. 3 offensive guard by Rivals, Stoops confirmed that Michigan is a place UK hopes to mine in the future behind secondary coach Steve Clinkscale.
“We always look to see where we can improve and where some of our coaches have relationships,” Stoops said, likening it to UK’s recent ability to sign kids in southern Florida behind offensive coordinator Eddie Gran. “And Steve had strong relationships in here. When he got in here and I hired him, we discussed those relationships, and it’s just a touch further for us to branch into there.
“We’re always looking for new areas to get a few players here and there. We have to go a lot of areas because of the number of recruits and proximity to our place. We have to expand a little bit.”
Michigan fits within the Stoops plan, which includes recruiting as many players as possible within a 6-8 hour radius of campus. There are presently no players from there on the UK roster.
“We’re trying to hammer it because those kids will come to campus,” Kentucky’s director of recruiting operations Dan Berezowitz said of players within that driving radius. “Michigan kids will get in the car and come to Junior Days, come to camp, come to spring game.
“We’ve had multiple kids from up there come down for visits. It’s just like West Virginia, D.C., you hit that 6-7 hour radius, those kids will come to your campus. St. Louis, just taking a complete circle and saying, ‘How many kids can we get to come down and visit and check it out?’ That’s ultimately how you get kids in the end.”
▪ If you haven’t lately, head over to the NextCats recruiting page. Recruiting guru Ben Roberts updated the page recently to include UK targets and more.